Zika virus: Floridians fear 'Pandora's box' of genetically altered mosquitos
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: August 22nd, 2016
The Florida Keys are three months away from a straw poll vote on whether to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes on an island just east of Key West. The tourist destination is awash in lawn signs ... that showcase the overhead view of a mosquito and read: NO CONSENT to release of genetically modified mosquitoes. For the last five years, the biotechnology company Oxitec has been developing a plan to experimentally release the GMO mosquitoes in the Keys, which scientists hope could eventually impede the spread of the Zika virus [by undercutting] the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. But the prospect of ridding the neighborhood of a disease-carrying pest hasnt quelled public dissatisfaction. Mila de Mier ... has led the charge against the mosquitoes release, collecting nearly 170,000 signatures in an online petition against the experiment. Its about human rights this cant be pushed down our throats without consent, said De Mier. If the trial goes well, the technology would be on track to commercial approval in the United States, opening a slice of the nations $14bn pest control market to the company. Globally, analysts predict Oxitecs mosquito could bring in up to $400m in annual sales for its parent company, Intrexon. With millions in potential sales at stake, the experiment in the environmentally sensitive, populous area hinges on the fundamental question proposed by opponents: do the people who live where an experiment is to be conducted have a right to decide whether to go forward?
Note: Oxitec, a company criticized for secretly releasing GM mosquitoes into the wild in 2009, was purchased last August by biotech giant Intrexon for $160 million. By December, the Zika virus was all over the news and Intrexon was ramping up production of these GM insects to "fight Zika" in Brazil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMO controversies and Zika virus fear mongering.